Now at the end of a nationwide, months-long search, the Kennett Consolidated School District has selected Superintendent Rudy Karkosak's replacement.
It was announced at the November board meeting that Barry Tomasetti, currently superintendent with the Mifflinburg Area School District, was an early favorite for the position.
That decision was made official on Monday evening when board president Heather Schaen made the announcement during the district's monthly business meeting.
Schaen said that while the district is pleased with the choice they've made for his replacement, the moment is bittersweet as they say goodbye to Karkosak, who has been superintendent for over 10 years.
"We've been blessed with a fantastic, outstanding superintendent, and we will be very sad to see an end to that era," she said.
Tomasetti was selected out of a pool of 35 candidates that was narrowed down to a bottom nine. Last month, the administration announced that its usual policy of narrowing that number down to two final candidates was skipped to avoid problems that may arise for the finalist not selected.
The process also relied on feedback from focus groups comprised of stakeholders from throughout the district, including parents, staff and administrators.
"They gave us valuable input when it came time for us to decide how to move forward," Schaen said.
"We knew from the people that we have on our staff already what quality looks like, and we're very confident that in Dr. Tomasetti we have an excellent superintendent," board member Doug Doren said.
In his brief comments to the public, Tomasetti thanked the board for their confidence and considered it an honor to serve the Kennett school district.
"My children have been in the schools for the past few weeks and they've had very positive experiences with the teachers and I'm thankful for that," he said.
Tomasetti also echoed comments from board member Nick Perrigo on the "grueling" nature of the selecting process, adding that there were many sleepless nights at his house throughout.
"It allowed me to get to know the school board and the teachers and so many different people and stakeholders in the school district, and I feel real confident oin the move for my family and myself," he said.
Tomasetti said he hopes to come on board officially by mid-January on a date that will be selected once he tenders his resignation with Mifflinburg this week.
He also added that he would work closely with Karkosak to ensure a smooth transition.
Tomasetti holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa, a master of education degree from the University of Houston and a doctorate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
He has worked in education for 26 years, divided between Texas and Pennsylvania. He has served as superintendent at Mifflinburg for the past 10 years.
He is also the recipient of the 2009 Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators' Instructional Leadership award and has been appointed as chair of the PASA Staff Development Committee responsible for planning and providing renewal opportunities for superintendents statewide.
His initial contract with Kennett is for five years, starting from his first day at KCSD.
Tomasetti is married and has three children, all of whom attend Kennett schools.